POUCE COUPE, B.C. – Pouce Coupe Mayor Lorraine Michetti has petitioned the B.C. Supreme Court to get her portfolio positions back.
For the second time this year, Michetti was replaced on all boards and committees in October after controversial social media comments she had made.
The matter was brought before a judge on December 13th, and a court ruling will be made later as a judge reviews information surrounding the case.
Michetti’s petition to the court asks for the resolutions made at the October meeting to be set aside and for the mayor to be awarded special costs.
In the petition, Michetti’s lawyer, Nathalie Baker, states that council’s decisions “are not transparent, intelligible or justified and are therefore unreasonable.”
“Further, the petitioner (Michetti) was denied reasonable notice and the most basic rights of procedural fairness,” the petition read.
The document claims that the council recommendation in the agenda “THAT Council review Council portfolios and Mayor schedule” targeted Michetti.
Baker claims the Village is trying to censure Michetti, and the wording in the agenda didn’t indicate council’s intention to remove her from her portfolio positions.
“To the contrary, the wording on the agenda is designed to lull the mayor in believing that council was simply reviewing the portfolios due to the recent election of two new council members.”
In response to the petition, the Village claims that council’s decision to remove Michetti from her positions was reasonable and that they were transparent as everyone was notified of the matter prior to the meeting.
“Given that formal reason for each appointment was not required, the advance notice of the meeting, the agenda for it, the public nature of the meeting iteslff, the opportunity of council members to discuss and vote on each appointment, and the opportunity for the public to watch the meeting process and see the discussion and decisions made at it all make the decisions sufficiently transparent for reasonableness assessment purposes,” said the response.
The Village also believes there is no justification to award special costs to Michetti.
Initially, council voted to remove Michetti from all committees and boards during a special meeting in February. During the meeting, without Michetti in attendance, council also requested her resignation after controversial social media comments she had made.
On July 5th, the Village announced on Facebook that the meeting was invalid following a court order.
Following the resignation of two councillors after the controversy, a by-election was held in August.
Two motions were passed during the first meeting with the revamped council on October 6th. Both motions were unanimous as no councillors voted against the motions.
One motion was to draft a letter to each board Michetti sat on to inform them that the mayor has been replaced. The second motion was to remove Michetti from all portfolio positions.
After swearing in the two new council members, the first order of new business was talking about the letter, and then council went through the list of portfolio positions Michetti held and replaced her with councillors.
The motions were made by newly-elected councillor Danielle Veach, who addressed Michetti’s leadership during her campaign trail.
The mayor was seemingly unhappy with the decision, claiming, “this is gonna be a gang up on me now.”
Veach denied the claim.
“My position from the beginning has been that I don’t support you on any of the portfolios.”